We Germans prefer to eat raclette in a pan, heated in a raclette oven with an electrically heated stone. This is simple and suitable for large groups, a sociable meal. But the use of raclette ovens is a modern invention. Originally, a large piece of cheese was warmed directly over an open fire and the melted cheese was scraped onto a piece of bread. This is where the name comes from: racler, which is French and means ‘to scrape’.

Today, raclette is one of the Swiss national dishes alongside cheese fondue. A very special cheese is used: a Swiss raclette cheese that is made by hand. Hardly anything has changed in terms of preparation, only the open fires have become less common.

Raclette cheese must be spicy and melt well. Raclette Suisse and Valais Raclette are served in Switzerland. You have to be careful with raclette cheese from other countries, many use the preservative E235, which is natamycin. Consumer advice centers recommend cutting off half a centimeter of bark. With Swiss raclette cheese you don’t have to worry about that. It is free of preservatives and additives.

If you don’t want to let the cheese melt over a campfire in a friendly group, there are now modern devices for you. For example, the popular raclette oven with electrically heated stone. This is the most commonly used. Or you can use an oven for cheese halves. To do this, the cheese is clamped into a holder and melted using a heating coil. The cheese can now be scraped onto the plate or onto bread with a knife.

1. Basic equipment

The best thing to do is to get a raclette oven, which is available in stores everywhere (some devices are presented here). In summer you can also prepare the raclette pans on the grill.

2. Cheese

Allow 200 to 250 grams of raclette cheese per person. You can buy cheese ready-made in slices at the cheese counter or in the refrigerated section. You should take the cheese out of the fridge 30 minutes before eating so that it can develop its full aroma. If you buy cheese in one piece, you can portion it as needed.

3. Side dishes

Originally, raclette was served with potatoes, pearl onions and gherkins. Of course you can add whatever you like: ham, asparagus, fresh vegetables, pears, pumpkin, but also pieces of meat.

4. Drinks

In Switzerland, white wine is typically drunk with raclette. Preferably a dry one. Like with cheese fondue. If you don’t like alcohol, you can drink black or herbal tea, which also stimulates digestion.

More raclette recipes at BRIGITTE.de

Raclette test: Click here for the raclette comparison.